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Our Story




est. 1948

Kansas was one of the original charter states when the Distributive Education Clubs of America was organized. The Kansas Charter was issued on March 24, 1948, by Ray Ellison, National DECA President and Ralph Rush, DECA Inc. chair.


H.D. Shotwell, Kansas State Supervisor, assisted in drafting both the national and the Kansas DECA charters. Mr. Shotwell retired in 1971 and was honored at the National Conference that year with a special appreciation award as a founding forefather of DECA.

Succeeding Shotwell as state supervisor, Don Strait (alumni of Concordia High School) served in the position until 1976.   Another Kansas Distributive Education alumni (Emporia High School), Richard (Dick) Russell served as state supervisor of Distributive and Entrepreneurship Education until a reorganization of the Kansas State Board of Education occurred in 2002.  Debbie Hinrichs absorbed Marketing and Entrepreneurship state supervisor responsibilities into her existing role as the Business/Office Education Education Program Consultant when the agency was rebranded as the Kansas Department of Education (KSDE).  In 2010, Kirk Haskins became the Education Program Consultant for Business “Pathways” (a rebrand of the career area from vocational education terminology).  Currently, (as of July 5, 2016) Natalie Clark serves as the EPC for Business programs and the KSDE Liaison to Kansas DECA.


In the 1960s, the State Supervisor position and the State Advisor role became split duties, no longer did one person serve in both capacities.  State Advisors have included:  Ira Martel (1966-1977), Ted Eberle (1978-1984), Karen Kutes (1985-2003), and Emily Sanders-Jones (2003-2015). In 2016, the Kansas Department of Education contracted the Robbins College of Business and Entrepreneurship at Fort Hays State University to manage daily operations of Kansas DECA. 


In 1994-1995, Kansas DECA had slightly over 900 high school division members in 29 high school chapters.  The same year, Kansas Delta Epsilon Chi (now known as Collegiate DECA) had 149 members in 9 chapters.

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